Coming off a two-game losing skid, Watson Chapel needed someone to step up and have a big game to put the Wildcats back on track.

Coming off a two-game losing skid, Watson Chapel needed someone to step up and have a big game to put the Wildcats back on track.

Rodney Ollison did just that, recording a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds, as Watson Chapel outlasted North Pulaski 45-32 on Tuesday.

Ollison started off strong, pulling down seven boards in the opening quarter as the Wildcats (11-10, 4-4 in 5A-Southeast Conference) built an 8-2 lead after the initial frame. The Falcons were not allowed any second-chance points and committed six turnovers.

“Our defense had been shaky the last couple of games,” Ollison said. “With us it all starts with defensive rebounds. We have really been working hard on our team defense to get through this losing streak. We just need to focus on our defense and ball containment.”

North Pulaski could draw no closer in the second stanza as Watson Chapel maintained the six-point advantage, 16-10.

The Falcons made a run to open the third quarter, trimming the Watson Chapel lead to two points at 22-20 with less than 2 minutes left. But Ollison and the Wildcats continued to pressure the ball on the defensive end of the floor and entered the final period with a 27-22 advantage.

Watson Chapel coach Matt Busch said he didn’t feel comfortable with the lead until about midway through the closing frame.

“That’s a very athletic ballclub,” said Busch. “The first time we played them (a 15-point win) was a little different. We came out and couldn’t miss anything. We got up big on them and they started fouling us. Tonight was a different story.”

The Falcons hung around for a few minutes in the fourth quarter. But Watson Chapel continued to build its lead. When Ollison pulled down his twelfth rebound and scored on a putback to put the Cats up by double digits at 37-26, Busch felt a sigh of relief.

“I really wasn’t comfortable until then,” Busch said. “That was a man’s rebound (Ollison) pulled down right there. He went up against their big man and won it.”

Busch said it wasn’t just Ollison who helped secure the win.

“We try to preach ball containment,” Busch said. “We try to keep them in front of us at all times. And as much as (Ollison) helped tonight so did Xavier Westmoreland. Xavier does things that nobody else really wants to do. And he does them well. He’s 6-1, maybe 6-2 and he was guarding 6-7 all night. He scored some points but none of them were easy.”

Westmoreland’s defensive responsibility for the night was North Pulaski’s Jeremiah Hollis. Westmoreland limited the big man to 12 points, the only Falcon in double figures, and six rebounds.

Ollison grabbed his final four rebounds in the closing frame. No other Wildcat reached double figures as JoviOne Bailey and Tevin Brown scored seven points apiece.

The Wildcats scored the final five points of the game to win by 13, an important statistic to Busch.

“You always want to cover your 10-point spread,” Busch said. “If (the playoffs) comes down to points and you are in a three-way tie you need those points. So that late push may be important to us later.”

The Falcons dropped to 3-17 overall and 2-6 in the conference.

GIRLS

Watson Chapel 59, North Pulaski 14

The Lady Wildcats cruised to victory over the Lady Falcons, leading 13-6 after the opening period and 31-10 at the half.

Watson Chapel held North Pulaski scoreless in the third quarter.

Kamera Bozeman paced the Lady Wildcats with 15 points while Chelsea Payne added 13 and Jasmine Bell 11 off the bench.

Watson Chapel is now 13-8 overall and 7-1 in the conference while North Pulaski dropped to 1-11 and 1-7.